Being in Belize finds us again at the immigration office.
Every country has different laws when it comes to Visas. I can honestly tell you the Belizean process is not my favorite.
When you arrive in Belize, you recieve a month "tourist" visa. Once that month is completed, you must return to the immigration office. Thankfully for us there is one in Orange Walk. Each month you must pay 25$ US to be in the country. After 6 months, the costs goes up to 50$ per person.
One must go to the office (in person) and present your passport to the officer. Sometimes they ask why you are here sometimes not. I have to say that this last time (our first time this term) the officer was quite pleasent.
Once they have taken your passport, they send you with a form to pay for your visa. We have about a 1/4 mile walk/ride to pay for the visa. When you return, you turn in your reciept to the immigration officer. They stamp your visa for the next month, and you are on your way.
Last term, it was a toss up. In the end we paid the same total as would have been paid for the longer term visa. We had monthly visits for the length of our stay in Belize.
This term, our stay will be much more long term. We are starting our long-term visa process.
There are two visas we could apply for:
Pastor/missionary visa: volunteer visa, a one time cost.
Worker visa: any job that one applies for must first be offered to a Belizean. In Nathanael's case, there aren't any Belizeans who can do his specific job. Nathanael has spoken with the head of the minsitry of education. They are in agreement with moving forward with him getting a visa through the work. This will allow us more likelyhood of having residency. This is a process that will most likely take a long time.
Honestly the best way to get things done in Belize is to go somewhere "in person". Nathanael had been emailing the ministry of education with little response. He went without an appointment and waited for a time when he could speak with her. She agreed to help, but there is still a process involved.
The first step is going with an American who just recently received her residency and work permit. She is helping him navigate the process. This must be done in Belmopan, the capital of Belize.
I hope this has opened your eyes a bit to the process we are going through, and that you would know how to pray for us.
Thanks so much for your prayers and support of us!!
By the way, we discovered that it is an ardous process to get a new post office box. Instead we have decided to keep the one we had used with Nancy before. Here is that address should you want to mail us a letter:
PO Box 158
Orange Walk Town
(there is no zip code required)
If you want to mail more than a letter or post card, we suggest you contact us. We have people visiting us or Dangriga often and it is the safest way to get something to us.